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Royals Rumblings - News for January 5, 2018

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love took from me: two bullpen arms and replaced them with a pitching prospect, salary relief, and a prospect from the third base tree

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Farewell again, Soria
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I write almost all of my Rumblings earlier in the week or Thursday during the day so there’s not much time for breaking news. That said, I think we have yesterday’s big news covered here: Royals trade Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander to White Sox and Dodgers for prospects

Drew Osborne of Royals Farm Report has a nice basic overview of “How the Minor League System Works”.

I think it’s something I take for granted. At least my wife tells me I do. Most baseball fans are somewhat familiar with their Major League team and perhaps the terms AAA, AA, and A ball. But from looking at Facebook and talking and listening to the casual fans, most don’t know what their team structure is or how in-depth baseball farm systems can be. So my goal is to create a little better understanding and a good review course for all of us. We will review the rules to help you understand why players end up where they do.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports collates some reports that the Brewers and Rangers are both in pursuit of Lorenzo Cain

We ranked Cain as the fourth best free agent available this offseason, though I think he’s one of the riskiest big ticket free agents out there. Cain’s great! Really good player and an unbelievably nice guy. He’ll also turn 32 in April and much of his game revolves around his legs. We’ve seen outfielders with similar skill sets, like Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Heyward, and Melvin Upton, sign big contracts and flop in recent years.

Old friend Craig Brown is doing player profiles for BPKC. Wednesday, he started with Jason Hammel. Yesterday, his subject was Drew Butera:

Drew Butera is something of a Royals folk hero.

As far as I can tell, there are three reasons for this. They are, in order of importance:

1. Hair flips

2. Mop-up relief pitching

3. Backup catching’s Jeffrey Flanagan interviews new Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred: You were a special assistant to the general manager in St. Louis and got to work closely with legendary pitching coach Dave Duncan. How did that influence you?

Eldred: [Duncan] was very consistent. He was the same guy every day. He was quiet, so a lot of times people misunderstood him as a coach. Some people thought he was a grumpy old man. But he loved his players. That’s a characteristic I want to have. But as a catcher, he was really good at seeing what the weapons are that a pitcher has, and understanding how those weapons will get a hitter out, and communicating what a pitcher will do to get that done. And he was really hard on his catchers in St. Louis. He commanded those catchers to be their best. As a pitching coach, that’s important.

Bradford Doolittle of ESPN looks at how teams’ fortunes have changed since the start of the offseason. Somehow the Royals have added 2.2 wins. I’m not entirely sure how. Indians losses maybe?

The Royals’ uptick in win forecast to a still-terrible 67.3 isn’t a product of their incomplete offseason work but rather is because of outside forces that improved their success in the simulations.

KOK appears to be on break this week but Kansas City Fansided is picking up the slack. Ben Almquist posts his thoughts about the Eric Hosmer rumors and then posits “Slow offseason could benefit Kansas City”.

Paul York of Royals Farm Report also looks at the Eric Hosmer situation.

Royals Blue is back for the first time in about a month with an article entitled “The Ridiculously Super Crazy Long Remembering These Royals Article (With Pictures and Video)”.

Here’s a throwback that’s a perfect lead-in to the Best of RR below, a Fanshot from Will entitled The latest over-hyped Cuban prospect: Jorge Soler.

For Best of Royals Review, this January is going to be The Month of Will. This whole site owes so much to Will and a few posts hardly do him justice. Also, I’m definitely not going to claim these are Will’s four best posts, merely a random sampling from the works of Will.

As it’s the first Friday of the year, time for new beginnings. In fact, have you ever read the first article in this site’s history (I hadn’t until last month)? Introductory Post, Sound the Royal Trumpets.

The aforementioned Mike Axisa from CBS Sports and then Craig Edwards from Fangraphs explored the idea that this offseason is boring because many players who would have been free agents signed extensions with their current club.

The best player in baseball (Mike Trout, of course) is obsessed about weather. And he’s really obsessed about the “bomb cyclone”. It’s a fascinating storm but it’s a really stupid name. And we all know that if it were hitting Kansas, it would be called “a Tuesday in winter” and not “bomb cyclone” on national news. Or whatever goofy name The Weather Channel came up with.

After Central Florida’s bowl win over Auburn completed the only undefeated season in FBS, they are declaring themselves national champion. They’re going to have a championship parade and paying out national championship bonuses to coaches.

For a different kind of parade in pursuit of perfection, Browns fans are celebrating their perfect 0-16 season, too. If you’re going to suck, might as well have fun with it (Potential 2018 slogan? Royals: call me!).

With just days to go until the parade, it’s apparently becoming a pretty popular event in Cleveland with a total of 6,000 people RSVPing to attend on the parade’s Facebook page.

Meltdown! Spectre! Giant computer chip vulnerability! BE AFRAID! BUY Y2K SHELTERS AND ZOMBIE REPELLENT! Or, just read a little here from PC World to get up to date. Gamers Nexus has a good article about it, too. If you run your patches AS YOU SHOULD, you’re probably safe and likely won’t even see the performance hit. The cloud is another matter.

I wonder if this will intensify the battle between Intel and AMD that restarted last year when the latter released their new Ryzen chip. It’s pretty amazing it even came to market, considering all the issues the chip manufacturer faced.

Another computer story? Why not? How about how Chrome is getting so dominant that it’s in danger of being “the next IE6”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, remember back when “works only in IE” was a thing? How about those few years where IE didn’t get updated at all because Microsoft had a web browser monopoly and development stagnated?

You’re going to be reminded about this story every Election Day from now on. Yesterday, the GOP retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates after Republican David Yancey was selected in the drawing of lots. The specific election had been tied 11,608 to 11,608. If Democrat Shelly Simonds’s name had been selected, the House would have been split with a Democrat in the Virginia governor’s mansion. So, yes, the balance of power for an entire state could have been swayed by literally one vote.

Now that everyone is either back from holiday travel (or not reading this because they’re still away), I ran across a couple less-than-happy airplane stories last month. A pilot friend of mine linked to the wikipedia article about United 232 and I followed it to this one from Popular Mechanics. In a 1989 plane crash, a staggering 111 people died. But even more impressively, 185 survived. It’s held up as an example of how airplane crew can work together to save lives, specifically crew resource management (CRM).

CRM apparently grew out of the Tenerife airport disaster in 1977, the deadliest of all time. Over 500 people lost their lives and only 61 survived when two planes collided. There were a slew of factors that led to this accident including a terrorist attack at another airport causing large planes to be diverted to a smaller (arguably too small) airport, extremely foggy conditions, and a complete communications failure between the planes and the tower.

Anyone made this mistake? My wife and I were in an Indian restaurant and there was some Muzak-ish thing playing. Right when it hit the recognizable part of the song, we both got that “aha” look and blurted out what it was simultaneously. Only I happened to be wrong. She correctly guessed that it was the most popular song for people waiting for a burrito (thanks, Geico). Meanwhile I mistook it for a song from a boxing movie. Apparently, this is a popular enough mistake that there is a note about Europe’s “The Final Countdown” on the Rocky IV wikipedia page.

That’s not the worst segue I’ve ever had into Song of the Day. Whenever I’m testing out a system to see if it works or just to plug it in for the first time in a while, I tend to gravitate towards one game to test it out. We’ve covered my games for the SNES (Star Fox) and N64 (Perfect Dark). How about my NES game today?

I’m not sure this game needs much of an introduction. One of the most popular games on the system, today is a quick look at one of my favorites: Mike Tyson Punch-Out!!

Some quick facts: Unbeknownst to many, it was a port of an arcade game. It even (sort of) had a sequel, but, in all honesty, the less said about it, the better. And Mike Tyson didn’t get added until the NES version:

Around the time the Gold Version was released, Nintendo of America’s founder and former president Minoru Arakawa attended a boxing match featuring future heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. While watching the boxer fight, Arakawa became so astonished with the athlete’s “power and skill”, he was inspired to use the athlete’s name and likeness in the upcoming port of the Punch-Out!! series to help the game sell well.[2] Tyson was rumored to have been paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. This was something of a risk for Nintendo, as it occurred before Tyson won the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship from Trevor Berbick on November 22, 1986.

Of course, the game is not without controversy. It was wildly popular until Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas in 1990. And, in 1991, the year Tyson was accused of rape, Nintendo lost the license to him in the game. He was replaced by a color palette swap named Mr. Dream.

Looking back, it contains laughably bad and dated stereotypes that would never fly in a game released today. However, where else would you get MIDI versions of the French national anthem “La Marseillaise”, Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries”, Russian folk music (“Song of the Volga Boatmen”), and the Toreador song from opera’s Carmen? This is all from famed conductor Koji Kondo (Mario, Zelda, et al) in his video game debut.

Generally, I’m not a big fan of speed runs. Mostly, they use glitches and cheap tricks to not really beat games but kindof cheat around them. But this is a legit beating of the game in about 20 minutes. Personally, most of the time I got stuck around Soda Popinski (or, as he was called in the arcade version, Vodka Drunkenski... seriously).